Activists Call On Health Minister To Take Stand

Ex-Gay Therapy Sparks Debate In Italy

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There’s a battle brewing in Italy. And health minister Livia Turco may be caught in the crossfire.

The drama began when a journalist went undercover as a gay man and investigated “reparative therapist” Tonino Cantelmi, the head of the Association of Catholic Italian Psychologists and Psychiatrists.

The journalist’s report raised a lot of eyebrows in Italy, particularly among enthusiastic conservatives:

Paola Binetti, a neurophsychiatrist and Democratic party lawmaker associated with the Teodem movement, praised Cantelmi for his “excellent work.”

Binetti argued: “Until the 1980s, homosexuality was classified as a pathology. While the homosexual lobby succeeded in changing this, clinical evidence supports the previous classification.”

Gay group Aricay disagrees and have called on Turco to come out against reparative therapy. Turco has yet to do so, but her opposition may garner her some political enemies. Parliamentarian Mauro Fabris calls anti-Cantelmi criticism a “hateful attempt to accuse the Catholic Church of homophobia.” Um, okay…

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5 Comments

  • hells kitchen guy

    It speaks volumes that here in America, no journalists would spend six months going undercover for this story. That said, it’s probably not the state’s place to dictate whether this kind of therapy should be allowed, no matter how repulsive it may be.

    Is there anywhere to read the journalist’s account in English?

  • Meeg

    I think “Aricay” is a typo for Arcigay which is the Italian gay rights organization.

  • mari

    This is not the translation, but it helps…

    A reporter of “Liberazione” pretended to be a gay with a priest: for six months he was under “Catholic therapy”. The “cure” is a very popular in North America
    The President of the Arcigay, Mancuso: “The Minister of Health must intervene”

    ROMA – He was for six months under a therapy in a ultra-Ccatholic group to cure his homosexuality, following a path started when he met a priest and then a very known professional, Tonino Cantelmi ( a docent of psychology at the Gregorian University), filling out a form with 600 questions and then starting the “restorative therapy.” That’s what has been reported in “Liberazione” by David Vari, the journalist who pretended to be gay for six months to learn about, as he writes in his article, the Italian circuit of “the thaumaturges of sex deviation.” A very popular fashion in North America thanks to the work of many groups tied to the Catholic church which follow the practice of Joseph Nicolosi,” a clinical psychologist who vaunts to have treated 500 gay people”.

    The investigation of the journalist pushed the President of Arcigay, Aurelio Mancuso, to ask for the intervention of the National Order of Psychologists and of the Health Minister, Livia Turco. “An alarming picture”, said Mancuso in commenting the article, ” with first rate figures involved in the implementation of pseudo therapies to cure homosexuality which derive from therapies imbued with prejudices and common places of a self proclaimed Catholic therapist, the American Joseph Nicolosi.”

    “The journalist met various psychologists belonging to the team of Tonino Cantelmi, the President and founder of the Italian Catholic Association of Psychologists and Psychiatrists at the Gregorian University, and then participated for six months to therapy sessions. The fact is very grave for – Mancuso explained – we remind everybody that in May 17, 1990, after centuries of persecutions, the World Health Organization defined homosexuality a natural human variance of sexuality.”

    “We ask for the immediate intervention of the National Order of Psychologists and of the Health Minister Livia Turco, so that these dangerous practices meant to distort people’s behavior are immediately ceased. We want to know – Mancuso goes on – if Cantelmi, his collaborators, his individual and collective therapy courses, are in some way recognized or financially supported by the public health system or through funds deriving from the “eight per thousand”.

    We denounce – Mancuso concludes – that in all our country, as many times was reported by our communications and by other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender associations, groups of Catholic psychologists or doctors, in parishes and in other ecclesiastical environments, propagandize a cure for homosexuality, with no intervention of the authorities who must control and contrast theories which are of high impairment of the dignity of the homosexuals.”

  • Caillean McMahon-Tronetti

    As a psychiatrist, forensic psychiatrist and medical administrator, I feel that it is my professional duty to counter Dr.Paola Binetti’s claim of clinical evidence supporting the pathologization of homosexuality and her scurrilous accusation that the profession removed homosexuality from the diagnostic nomenclature for political reasons. It did not do so, nor is the profession or any medical speciality susceptable to lobbying in its’ diagnostics.

    Dr. Binetti’s remarks are reckless and unfounded. Her embrace of a technique proven to be more dangerous than effective is unconscionable.

    Caillean McMahon-Tronetti
    Forensic Psychiatrist
    Who’s Who Outstanding Mental Health Professional 2007-08
    (feel free to quote this wherever you wish)

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